Febrauary 14, 2008
Tom and I spent our Valentines Day weekend in Denver/Fort Collins, Colorado. We flew out on the first flight on the 14th. We took a taxi to our hotel called Cherry Creek. We checked in and much to our surprise, were asked if the mountain view room would be suitable. Tom and I decided to take a nap so we would have enough energy to go out that night. We climbed into our luxurious king bed and drifted off in a peaceful sleep.
I woke many hours later and figured I would let Tom get a little more sleep. I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. The channel was set to CNN. I quickly saw what the bottom of the screen said. Shooting at Northern Illinois University.
We live about 30-40 minutes from NIU. It is the closest state school to my high school. Therefore, I know a ton of people who attend college there. Particularly, 3 of my very close friends were going to class that day. I immediately panicked, grabbed my phone and called them. I tried to call my friend, Mia. Her phone went straight to voicemail. I spoke with one and luckily she had talked to her boyfriend, which is the second person. I tried calling Mia over and over. I couldn't get a hold of her and decided to call her Moms house phone. Thankfully, her Grandma was there and reassured me that Mia had called home and was safe. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. That short time I couldnt reach my friend was one of the scariest times in my life. Mia was actually headed to a class in the hall where the shooting took place. She witnessed kids running away as she walked toward it.
I was glued to the TV for the next few hours. Details of the shooting could not come soon enough. My heart broke for the lives lost. Anger developed for the guy who did this. I knew of previous shootings, Columbine and Virginia Tech in particular. This felt different. It hit so close to home, literally.
Saturday will mark the one year anniversary of the NIU shootings. I hope the past year has brought peace to the families and friends of the five young lives lost. May they always be remembered.